Comments Concerning Police Reform and AB953
The PRC stood with National Action Network, Women Occupy San Diego, SEIU, Unite HERE Local 30, People Over Profits, the family of Mr. Olango, the Voice of Our City Choir, and allies to advance the justice agenda for the Jan 16 MLK March.
PRC boardmember Gary Lynne made the following comments at the San Diego Press Club on Jan 4 2017.
“I am Gary Lynn, a member of the Board of Directors of the Peace Resource Center. I am here to address the Peace Resource Center’s concerns about Assembly Bill 953-the California Racial and Identity Profiling Act. While we applaud the efforts of Dr. Shirley Weber, the author of the bill, to have law enforcement address the issue of racial profiling, we believe that the collection and assessment of stop data required by AB953 only delays action to eliminate racial profiling and excessive use of force by law enforcement in communities of color and other minority communities.
We recognize that citizens residing in these communities experience the effects of racial profiling and excessive use of force or aggressive police practices every day and they don’t need the collection of data to know that it is happening in their communities every day.
Public safety, and community equity requires immediate remedies to counter the institutional bias of law enforcement towards those citizens residing in the communities most adversely impacted by crime and poverty.
The Peace Resource Center is calling for the following steps to be taken now by law enforcement agencies throughout San Diego County:
- Stop the practice of stopping vehicles for minor, non-moving, violations, such as, tail lights not functioning, or windshield wipers not working properly.
- Recommit to the principle of ‘protect and serve’ in all communities, and cease the practice of stalking and harassing which destroy a community’s trust in law enforcement personnel.
- Employ restorative justice in lieu of punitive justice whenever possible to minimize the incarceration of excessive numbers of citizens, for non-violent crimes.
- Remove all military-like forms of heavy equipment and military-style training. Our local law enforcement agencies are not the military and should not be organized or operated as a quasi-military institution. This is the United States of America, not some third-world country governed by a military dictator or military junta.
There are other reforms we believe are needed, including more effective citizen oversight of law enforcement, but the steps we have identified today are, we believe, a good place to start.”
Important notes re AB 953:
Bill was signed by Governor Jerry Brown October 3, 2015.
The Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board was established by the Attorney General July 1, 2016.
The California Attorney General released proposed regulations for the collection and reporting of data required by this statute December 9, 2016.
Public comment is invited until January 27, 2017.